Law Enforcement Fitness for Duty
Law enforcement officials who have been put “behind a desk” due to their involvement in a psychological, emotional, medical or Officer Involved Shooting (OIS), require a psychological evaluation before they can be reinstated to patrol.
Utilizing situational awareness, we can avoid potentially dangerous situations by paying attention to pre-incident indicators that could reasonably predict the potential for danger. People can be taught to recognize pre-incident indicators which will increase their situational awareness.Threat Assessment/Threat Avoidance
During a deadly force encounter, certain perceptual distortions may come into play. For example, these include but are not limited to:
- Tunnel vision: cortical perception of diminished peripheral vision and intense forward focus.
- Auditory exclusion: cortical process whereby sound is perceived at lower decibel levels than is actually the case.
- Tachypsychia (“speed of the mind”): perceptual distortion that time is slowing.
- Cognitive dissonance: general confusion, also, when recalling an incident the temporal sequence of events is out of actual chronological order.
When these phenomena are not taken into consideration, you can be perceived as a liar, when in reality you are recalling the incident based on perceptual distortions stipulated in a “mental fog.” It takes 30 seconds to encode from short-term into long-term memory. Some incidents occur so quickly that you cannot remember all the aspects, therefore your mind will fill in the missing memory gaps with information that could connect it back but may be factually incorrect.
In a deadly force encounter, perceptual distortions may or may not occur. However, if they do occur and you are aware of them, you may recognize that you are experiencing one or more distortions, not be as distracted by them and follow through on your course of action. In addition, during the After Action Report (AAR) when recalling the event to investigators, you can improve the factual quality of your perception of the encounter.